Summer 2018 - Spring 2019
So far, the journey has taken me to Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. I crossed the Viking sea, kayaked to the remote islands of Utsira and Helgoland, heard stories of Faroese giants, whales and seabirds. I ate boiled sheep’s head, fish balls and herring, crawled thorough lava tunnels, negotiated the sea of flames and Norway’s Bermuda Triangle. I visited the site of a UFO landing, crossed the gates of hell (twice) and became an expert at loading a sea kayak onto ferries. Throughout the journey, I have met with others sharing a love for the sea and passion for the outdoors, finding out what makes it important for them and uncovering the stories of the Shipping Forecast.
In total I kayaked over 1300km in six countries over 65 days, 34 of which were on the sea. I averaged around 40km/day and had a speed of around 2.6 knots. I took thirteen ferries and five flights, crossing over 2000km of sea. I lost a tent, a map case, a paddle, the lining to my helmet and the frame for my wheels. I was met with warmth, kindness and generosity and heard some amazing stories, songs and legends of the sea. I saw the coastline change from the volcanic peaks and snowy caps of Iceland to the dark, brooding cliffs and crags of the Faroe islands. I saw some of the oldest rock in the world in Norway, shaped and sculpted by glaciers and immersed myself in the extensive dune landscapes of Denmark. I experienced the tidal flats and fine sands of the North Sea coast which I am still removing from my kit. I saw a huge variety of wildlife at close hand including a range of sea birds, lots of gannets, puffins, guillemots, eider ducks, as well as dolphins, proposes and seals. I ate a lot of fish. I loved hearing about similar forecasts and radio broadcasts held close in the memories of their own nations with the same fondness and familiarity. This shared experience of something that many consider to be an odd, nonsensical but soothing part of a national cultural identity in the UK was an unplanned outcome and I made several recordings of people reading their own forecasts in their own language, an interesting switch in perspective. I returned with the feeling that in a time of increased national divisions, the sea, and its shared, strange salty fables are what can bring us together rather than pulling us apart.
You can read more about my adventures in my blog posts here. The short film below describes a bit about my journey so far.
South East Iceland, Höfn to Seydisfyordur. 235km, 6 days with 3 break day
Faroes, Tórshavn to Mykines and back. 180km, 4 days with 3 storm days
North Utsire, South Utsire, Bergen (Hjellestad) to Stavanger (Finnøy) 225km, 5 days
Fisher, Hirtshals to Henne Strand, 275km, 6 days, 1 storm day
German Bight, St Peter Ording to Helgoland. 105km, 2 days with one break day
German Bight (2), Neuharlingersiel to Texel (NL). 245km, 8 days with 1 break day
Humber, Texel to Den Helder and Noorderhaaks sand bar. 45 km, 2 short days
Thames, Various, including Leysdown on Sea to Red Sands Forts, 26km
Dover, Broadstairs to Pegwell Bay, Deal to Dover, Deal to Goodwin Sands